New Delhi, February 28: India needs to build quality education and skill development infrastructure and a policy especially for higher education to meet requirements of futuristic employment opportunities, the Economic Survey has said.
"The policy prescription lies in shifting attention away from inputs to outcomes and focus on building quality education and skill development infrastructure," the Survey for 2014-15 tabled in Parliament said.
There is need to match the supply with demand and to dovetail education policy to employment opportunities.
Therefore, higher education needs to be futuristic and envision areas that will generate future employment opportunities and accordingly offer suitable courses for students, it suggested.
The survey pointed out that the overall standard of the education system is well below global standards as the single most significant finding of the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) is that learning levels across the country, whether in public or private schools, have not improved.
It noted that while only 73 per cent literacy has been achieved (Census 2011), there is marked improvement in female literacy.
The male literacy at 80.9 per cent is still higher than female literacy at 64.6 per cent but the latter increased by 10.9 percentage points compared to the 5.6 percentage points for former.
The total enrollment in primary schools has declined in 2013-14 while upper primary enrollment has grown during the period. This is in line with the demographic changes in the age structure, it added.
The gross enrollment ratio (GER) in higher education has nearly doubled from around 11.6 per cent in 2005-06 to 21.1 per cent in 2012-13, with 29.6 million students enrolled in 2012-13 as compared to 14.3 million in 2005-06.
However, the lower penetration into higher levels of education leads to higher dropouts, especially among the secondary and upper primary students, consequently to accumulation of less educated and less skilled job seekers at the bottom of the pyramid.
The percentage educated also falls progressively with higher levels of education, it said. The survey said that with the changing demography and declining child population and the inadequacy of human capital at the base of the pyramid leading to a huge backlog in basic skills could become a big impediment in Indias growth.
It said that the Padhe Bharat Badhe Bharat initiative to create a base for reading, writing, and math fluency is a good step in this direction.